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Postgraduate Research

We offer 2 programmes within the department, a 3-year and 4-year programme. Our programmes are funded from many sources including the Research Councils (EPSRC, BBRSC, NERC and MRC), Charities, the European Community, US Government sources and industry in the UK, Europe and the USA.

PhD Chemistry (3-year)

PhD Chemistry

The 3-year Chemistry PhD programme is focused on a major piece of original research. You will study under the direct supervision of a member of staff, who is an expert in his or her area of specialisation. The department offers a broad range of research themes across physical, organic, inorganic and computational chemistry, specific departmental strengths are listed under research areas below.

Read more on the Chemistry PhD programme 

Wellcome Trust Interdisciplinary Programme in Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology (4-year)

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This unique programme offers opportunities to study at UCL, Birkbeck College and MRC-NIMR. Students are exposed to a wide range of training in protein structure, chemical biology and the computational tools necessary to address important problems in biomedicine.

Read more on the SCCB programme

 

Theoretical Studies on the Ultrafast Photochemistry of Biological Chromophores (D/L:20/05/2022)

Supervisors: Professor Graham Worth  and Professor Helen Fielding
Start date: 26 September 2022

CL Chemistry Department is offering a fully-funded studentship to highly motivated candidates to start in September 2022. The students will carry out their doctoral research at UCL. 

This 3-year PhD position is available to work with Professor Graham Worth and Professor Helen Fielding to study ultrafast photochemical dynamics. 

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics or related discipline. We are looking to recruit a highly motivated physical chemist with an excellent background in physical and theoretical chemistry and an interest in spectroscopy and dynamics. Experience in computational chemistry is not a pre-requisite as extensive training will be provided. The project will explore the response of biological chromophores to light, in particular chromophores involved in bioluminescence. 

The project will involve computational studies and developing theoretical methods to describe the excited-state dynamics of molecular systems in both the gas-phase and in solution. Such studies will enable us to build a more complete picture of the pathways available to chormophores available after excitation, and the role of the solvent environment in these.. Methods will include quantum chemistry calculations and quantum dynamics simulations. The project will be closely linked to the experimental work in the Fielding group which uses state-of-the-art laser spectroscopy experiments to track molecular excited-state dynamics.

Applicants should send their applications (covering letter and CV including contact details for 2 referees) by email to Professor Graham Worth (g.a.worth@ucl.ac.uk). 

Please note that a suitable applicant will be required to complete MS Form entitled Application for Research: degree Chemistry programme. In addition, it is essential that suitable applicants complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply (please select Research degree: Chemistry programme) prior to the application deadline and advise their referees to submit their references as soon as they possibly can. All shortlisted applicants will be invited for the interview no more than 4 weeks after the application deadline. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac and Holly Rose at doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU students with settled/pre-settled status and students with indefinite leave to remain or enter. Please note that the studentship only covers home fees. The updated rules for eligibility for home fees for next year are available at View Website.

A 3-year Impact PhD studentship with Pfizer in “Kinetically Accessible Crystal Structure Prediction for Pharmaceuticals” (D/L:16/05/2022)

Supervisor Prof Sarah (Sally) Price FRS, with Dr Matteo Savalaglio (UCL Chemical Engineering) and Dr Rui Guo at Dr Kevin Back (Pfizer, Sandwich).
Start Date: 1st October 2022

Pfizer and UCL are fully funding an Impact studentship developing the computational modelling of the organic solid state as a complement to experimental pharmaceutical development. The student will carry out the research in UCL Chemistry, with visits and supervision from the Pfizer scientists.
Current methods of computational organic crystal structure prediction (CSP) are based on generating the crystal structures that are the most thermodynamically stable in lattice energy (~ 0 K), which generally produces more structures than are found in polymorph screening experiments. By performing simulations of the dynamic motion of the molecules, we can determine which structures remain viable at crystallization temperatures, and therefore could form during the kinetic
process of crystallization. The PhD student will start by establishing these structures for a generic and publishable Pfizer molecule that has demonstrated the need for this projecrt. The next stage is to determine which polymorphs could appear during manufacture, storage or use of the pharmaceutical product. We will develop methods of estimating the solubility and conformations in different solvents, aiming for a means of suggesting the experiments that will promote the solution crystallization of a given polymorph. The combined approach will be developed into a workflow for interpreting CSP output to aid experimental polymorph screening. 

Applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent in chemistry, chemical engineering, physics or materials science, that includes theory and some experience in electronic structure and/or atomistic modelling. Some experience of using academic (Fortran) codes on Unix machines and python scripting would be an advantage.

Interested candidates should informally contact Prof Sarah Price by email, attaching a CV and explaining their interest in this project. A suitable applicant will be required to complete MS Form entitled Application for Research: degree Chemistry programme, and complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply (please select Research degree: Chemistry programme) prior to the application deadline and advise their referees to submit their references as soon as they possibly can. All shortlisted applicants will be invited for the interview no more than 4 weeks after the application deadline. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac and Holly Rose at doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk.

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU students with settled/pre-settled status and students with indefinite leave to remain or enter. Please note that the studentship only covers home fees. The updated rules for eligibility for home fees for next year are available at View Website.

A 4-year PhD studentship in anode-free batteries (D/L:10/06/2022)

Supervisor: Dr Yang Xu
Application deadline: June 10th, 2022
Interview date: Within 3 weeks after application deadline
Start date: Sept. 26th, 2022

Applicants are invited to apply for a PhD studentship in the Department of Chemistry at UCL, under the supervision of Dr Yang Xu. This position is a DTP studentship fully funded for 4 years by the EPSRC and is available from Sept. 2022. 

Sodium anode-free batteries are based on an earth-abundant elements and hence cost-effective and sustainable, holding significant promise to tackle climate change and accelerate decarbonisation. The elimination of the anode material in a battery cell will significantly reduce cell weight and improve cell energy density. The challenge of “anode-free” is rooted in the limited understanding of sodium electrochemical deposition, particularly sodium dendrite growth and unfavourable parasitic reactions, which could be different from lithium electrochemical deposition. This project will investigate fundamentals of interfacial chemistry and materials, and results can be used to guide other anode-free battery systems, such as potassium. The specific objectives of the project include:
1.    Analyse the interfacial chemistry of electrochemical deposition and the properties of solid-electrolyte interphase.
2.    Understand the key kinetic limitations of electrochemical deposition including side reactions. 
3.    Investigate materials to facilitate electrochemical deposition and overcome kinetic limitations.

The successful candidate will carry out cutting-edge research using the state-of-the-art facilities at UCL and through collaboration with researchers nationally and internationally. In addition, the project will link to other ongoing projects (sodium-, potassium-, calcium-ion, and sulphur batteries), enabling great potential for internal collaborations.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or a related discipline. Candidates will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice, the ability to think analytically and creatively, and be keen to work collaboratively in a team environment. Excellent experimental skills, a curiosity-driven attitude to science, and good communication skills (both presentation and writing in English) are essential. UCL offers a world-leading scientific environment in the heart of London.

Interested candidates should initially contact the supervisor, Dr Yang Xu (y.xu.1@ucl.ac.uk), with a degree transcript, CV, and a motivation letter expressing interest in these projects. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Please note that a suitable applicant will be required to complete MS Form entitled Application for Research: degree Chemistry programme. In addition, it is essential that suitable applicants complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply (please select Research degree: Chemistry programme) prior to the application deadline and advise their referees to submit their references as soon as they possibly can. All shortlisted applicants will be invited for the interview no more than three weeks after the application deadline. The interview process will include a short data analysis project and the preparation of a small report to summarise its results. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac and Holly Rose at doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk.

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU students with settled/pre-settled status and students with indefinite leave to remain or enter. Please note that the studentship only covers home fees. The updated rules for eligibility for home fees for next year are available at View Website.

Resources:

We offer an excellent education with high standards of teaching in an exciting but friendly environment. We foster a community feel to the department and you will mix throughout your time here with staff, undergraduate students and researchers.

UCL Scholarships: find the currently available Studentships with the Scholarships and funding tool.

Questions & Answers: There's a lot you should ask and a lot for us to tell you in our FAQ section.

Departmental Graduate Tutor
Professor Jim C. Anderson
Email: j.c.anderson@ucl.ac.uk

For all PGR enquiries contact:
Email: doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk